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Expectations for Students

We’re N This Together. It is our responsibility, together, to uphold community standards for ourselves and those in our community, on and off campus.


Northwestern has established the following requirements for all students returning to campus. All students must:

  • Review and agree to a set of community standards and expectations in CAESAR prior to registering for Fall or Winter classes. These expectations include:
    • Abiding by safety or hygiene standards recommended by Northwestern, the Illinois Department of Public Health, or the CDC, including standards regarding face coverings, social distancing, limiting gatherings, hand washing and sanitizing, and cleaning shared surfaces.
    • Complying with University testing and contact tracing efforts.
    • Completing a daily symptom-monitoring form.
    • Following University guidance regarding quarantining and self-isolating.
    • Acknowledging that activities may be cancelled or postponed, and courses with in-person components might have to shift to online delivery at some point

Specific information about community expectations has been emailed to students directly. Community members who violate these expectations may face disciplinary actions.

Northwestern will address the range of student behaviors, from isolated low-level incidents, like failure to wear a face covering, to the most severe cases, such as hosting a gathering that does not comply with expectations, which could lead to suspension or expulsion.

  • Isolated low-level concerns will be responded to with notification and education to reinforce and lift up the expectations of our community. Repeated low-level concerns will require an escalated response.
  • Severe incidents — those that put our community’s safety at risk — such as hosting a large event on or off campus without social distancing will require swift and significant action. Credible reports of actions that endanger the health and safety of our community will result in interim actions (e.g., restriction from campus) and in the most severe cases may result in suspension or expulsion once the case has been fully resolved.  
  • Off-Campus concerns will be addressed as has been done in the past. The University receives information from the City and through University reporting structures and will respond with consideration for the Student Expectations and COVID-19 Student Code of Conduct, which may apply to student behavior off campus. The OCS staff, along with additional Northwestern staff, will work in partnership with the city to educate and reinforce community expectations with respect for the City of Evanston and Northwestern’s scope and reach.

For additional information regarding your responsibilities and accountabilities, please visit the Office of Community Standards website.

Where to Report a Concern

We encourage each member of our community to remind each other of these expectations.  In instances where we are unable to hold each other accountable with a friendly reminder or a conversation about these expectations, there are resources available for students to report concerns.

To understand reporting mechanisms available to you, review these websites:

  • NU Help – Students can report a concern about another student
  • EthicsPoint – Student can report activities by any community member that may involve misconduct or violations of University Policy
  • Office of Equity – Students can report anyone in our community who has been the target of, or who witnesses, sexual misconduct, discrimination, or harassment based on a protected category
  • Schools and Departments – Students can report a concern for and about any community member associated with a School or Department to that location